Carter B. Horsley
Latin American Art auction
at Christie's May 31 and June 1, 2007 is highlighted by three
great Mattas, a very strong David Alfaro Siqueiros, some excellent
Francisco Toledos and a fine Gunther Gerzso.
is a sensational, large
Matta entitled "Tige verte (Les Possessions)." An oil
on canvas, it measures 43 1/2 by 55 1/2 inches and was painted
masterpiece, it has an estimate
of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. It sold for $2,168,000 including
the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.
what the artist called
an "inscape," intended to serve as analogy for states
of consciousness in perpetual transformation, the catalogue entury
by Susan L. Aberth notes.
complex surface," Ms. Aberth continued, "Tige verte
opens onto a vast, dimensionless, metaphysical void. everywhere
is contradiction, flux, and chaos. Planes of opaque color emphasize
the canvas surface while nearby translucent areas suggest
space. Glowing red mineral shapes are interspersed with swirls
of yellow light, white lines seem scratched onto the surface,
and flame-like little tongues of color flicker fitfully here and
there. Electrical currents flowing through water, mathetical
being washed off a chalkboard, life forming in primordial seas."
stunning Matta masterpiece
is Lot 202, "Imaschus," a 50-by-58-inch oil on canvas
that was painted in 1948. Unlike the dark, amorphous and mysterious
world of Tige verte, "Imaschus" is bright and
organic and no less terrifying. Presumably de Kooning would have
liked this one very much. It has a very modest estimate of $150,000
to $200,000. It sold for $456,000.
were to combine Tige
verte and Imaschus you might get Lot 36,
by Matta, a 25 3/8 by 31 5/8 inch oil on canvas that was painted
in 1949. A very painterly work, this has a sense of order but
remains explosive. It has a very conservative estimate of $180,000
to $220,000. It failed to sell and was passed at $160,000.
is an interesting work
by Leonora Carrington (b. 1917) entitled "Illeidos (Ships
Engendered from Metallic Seeds)." An oil on canvas, it measures
23 7/8 by 35 3/8 inches and was executed in 1965. The lot has
an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $168,000.
is an impressive large
work by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974). Entitled "Autorretrato
(El Machete)," it was the cover illustration of Mario de
Micheli's 1985 book on Siqueiros. A pyroxilin on wood, it measures
48 by 45 1/4 inches and was painted in 1968.
catalogue provides the
following commentary by Irene Herner:
a re-examination of the artist's life and mission. 'Our movement
was in favor of public art, which for the first time gave rise
to a new type of artist, the citizen-artist, a new engaged artist,
opposed to the traditional Mexican artists from before the Revolution.'
In 1923, the Artist's Union, led by Xavier Guerrero and Siqueiros,
founded the new paper El Machete. Although titled
an agricultural tool and an instrument of labor, the machete would
come to symbolize a weapon in the defense of the worker: 'The
moving murals of our great muralist painting movement.' Siqueiros's
self-portraits bear witness to his 'hieroglyphic contentiousness.'
Each mural encapsulates the goals of the muralist mission on behalf
of revolutionizing art itself. ...The entire surface of the composition
is made up of a geometrical structure rendered dynamic in
the self-portrait, the placement of the spears and/or the lines
of tension is interupted by a sequence of highly synthetic, almost
abstracted naked bodies with arms stretched upwards and whose
rhythmical march is upstaged by the form of a cyclone wire-like
Maya figure, at the center of the composition. From there, the
innovative use of an anonymous snaking march erupts towards the
viewer like explosive lava. Siqueiros's face emerges from one
of these nudes with a distant look and massive features - a raised
hand and a clenched fist like a comic strip super hero joining
the fight with a gigantic machete in hand - a phallic symbol of
has a very conservative
estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $240,000.
is a large and impressive
work by Alfredo Ramos Martinez (1872-1946) that is entitled "Flowers
of Mexico." An oil on canvas, it measures 63 1/4 by 44 1/8
inches and was executed circa 1938. It has an estimate of $600,000
to $800,000. It sold for $4,072,000, an auction record for
Lot 9 is
a very good work by
Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) entitled "Personnage (Man in Red)."
An oil and sand on canvas that measures 31 1/2 by 40 inches, it
was painted in 1968. It has been consigned by the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.
It sold for $504,000.
is a nice and relatively simple work by Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991).
An oil and sand on canvas, it measures 23 3/4 by 20 inches and
was painted in 1946. It has been consigned by "a royal European
family" and has an estimate of $350,000 to $450,000. It
sold for $611,200.
Lot 8 is
a very good gouache,
pen and ink on heavy Arches paper by Francisco Toledo (b. 1940).
Entitled "El Cangrejo Azul," it measures 30 by 22 inches.
It has an estimate of $90,000 to $120,000. It sold for
an auction record for a work on paper by the artist.
is a superb work by
Francisco Toledo. Entitled "Cangrejo," it is an oil
and sand on canvas that measures 39 1/2 by 47 1/4 inches and was
executed in 1979. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.
It sold for $622,400, an auction record for the artist.
is an excellent oil
and sand on canvas by Gunther Gerzso (1915-2000). Entitled "Origen
I," it measures 21 1/4 by 29 3/4 inches and was executed
in 1996. It has an estimate of $55,000 to $75,000. It sold
is a very handsome work
by Marcelo Bonevardi (1929-1994) that is entitled "Blue Habitat."
An acrylic on stitched burlap and wood construction with textured
substrate, it measures 98 1/2 by 49 1/4 inches. It was created
in 1981. It has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It
sold for $62,400, an auction record for the artist.
is a delightful large
work by Antonio Segui (b. 1934) entitled "Mi pueblo, mi casa,
mi todo." An acrylic and collage on canvas, it measures 69
by 101 3/4 inches and was executed in 1989. It has an estimate
of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $90,000.
4, "A Letter from
Theo," by Julio Larraz, sold for $240,000, an auction record
for the artist.
16, "La Novia Vendida,"
by Juan Soriano, sold for $96,000, an auction record for the artist.
18, "Nina con perico,"
by Jesus Guerrero Galvan, sold for $96,000, an auction record
for the artist.
23, "Waiting for
the Coffee," by Antonio Gattorno, sold for $120,000, an auction
record for the artist.
24, "El Rapto,"
by Carlos Enriquez," sold for $114,000, an auction record
for the artist.
de Chapultepec," by Edouard Pingret, sold for $240,000, an
auction record for the artist.
42, "Valley of
Mexico from the Hacienda Morales," by Conrad Wise Chapman,
sold for $312,000, an auction record for the artist.
68, untitled, "by
Alberto Greco, sold for $54,000, an auction record for the artist.
70, "Untitled (Pintura
Madi)," by Gyula Kosice, sold for $38,400, an auction record
for the artist.
No. 2 and 3," by Kazuya Sakai, sold for $54,000, an auction
record for the artist.
Chromoplastique No. 703," by Luis Tomasello, sold for $50,400,
an auction record for the artist.
77, untitled, by Rogelio
Polsello, sold for $84,000, an auction record for the artist.
by Victor Rodriguez, sold for $132,000, an auction record for
sold 78 percent
of the 314 offered lots for a total $28,909,640.